It’s almost here, again. The dreaded gift-giving holiday season is creeping upon us once again. Retail stores, such as Hallmark, seem to promote their holiday displays earlier and earlier each year, sometimes displaying Christmas tree
ornaments before even Halloween arrives! What are the hot, new trendy gifts for the 2005 holiday season? In speaking with several retail store managers and employees in order to get an early start on looking for great gift ideas, I’ve narrowed the list down to the most-requested items to grab before it’s too late.
Unanimously, the hottest gift this year will be the XBOX 360 video game console, because demand will outnumber the product’s supply. Microsoft’s console has been continually hyped with publicity and has sent video game fanatics scrambling to new heights in order to reserve the latest in high-end entertainment. The biggest problem for Microsoft isn’t reaching out for early technology adapters, but overcoming Microsoft’s self-created hype. Even though there’s no official word on how many units will be delivered on the release date of November 22, stores such as Toys R Us, Electronics Boutique and GameStop have many pre-order purchases reserving individual units, which store employees quickly admit most likely won’t not receive enough units to fulfill demand.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Target Manager Matt Crisafulli is doubtful his store will receive many units. “I don’t know how many we’ll receive. Based on historical sales, my educated guess is that we’ll receive 50 cases of both XBOX 360 bundles.”
Wal-Mart takes a different stance on selling merchandise. No pre-order purchases are allowed, the only policy the store has is for people to arrive at the store in person at midnight of its release date, creating long lines of impatient customers ready to snatch the few available units. Many websites list XBOX 360 as already being sold out, hinting there most likely will be a shortage of the console before December arrives. Websites, such as eBay, list the elusive console more than 10 times the suggested manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
The XBOX 360 will be sold at two price points. The XBOX 360 Core System is the no-frills version, including the console, wired controller and composite AV cable priced at $299.99, which is sold in a green box (so as not to confuse shoppers). The XBOX 360 bundle includes all the essential accessories, such as the console, hard drive, wireless controller, Xbox Live headset, HD cable, Ethernet cable, Media remote (for a limited time) priced at $399.99 and is sold in the white box. Microsoft expects to sell 3 million units within the first three months of the console’s release. Accessories and games are also expected to be in high demand, with 15 to 20 games accompanying the release.
Another hot-selling electronic device is Apple’s video-playing iPod. The best-selling portable MP3 player plays digital music downloaded from your computer, but also displays digital photographs, music videos, movie trailers and a limited number of television programming content. Coming in black and white exterior colors, with two different hard drive sizes; the 30 GB unit holds about 7,500 songs and costs $299, while the 60 GB unit holds about 15,000 songs and costs $399.
Matt Crisafulli lists a few other hot-selling items for the holiday season. “The Thomas O’Brien home collection is selling well. The curtains, ottomans and bed sheets… it’s a more masculine looking product line. That’s why it’s selling well.”
Also noteworthy, DVD movies are selling well, but complete-season box sets of current and previous television shows are doing better business. Crisafulli continues, “Box sets, like Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½The Sopranos,’ Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½24′ and Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Sex in the City,’ in particular, are selling well right now. DVDs are selling well because they’re cheap and they’re being pushed faster than in previous years to be sold. I can watch the last episode of Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Rome’ in two weeks, and by Christmas I can probably get the box set.”
As for toys for smaller girls and boys, the hottest-selling items include the Fisher-Price Cadillac Escalade Power Wheels vehicle, the Lego Viking toy line and the Fly Pentop computer.
Toys R UsÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½employees explain the reason it’sÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½been selling well is the name recognition of “Escalade,” but also because it has a working radio. The fact that it’s a Toys R Us exclusive helps, too.
The Cadillac Escalade is a vehicle that includes battery and charger, working radio speakers and doors, and travels up to speeds of 5 miles per hour, all in the style of the actual vehicle. The weight limit for the vehicle is 130 lbs. and is approved for children ages 3 and up.
Another hot-selling toy on the Toys R Us holiday wishlist is the Lego Viking toy line because it makes the kids think. They have a chance to think about what they’re making.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ The toy lineÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½includes dragons, sailboats, castles and catapaults. Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½According to various Lego fans,Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½many childrenÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½don’t just tear down their Lego formations after completion; creating entire cities where they’re continually building onto them, covering their entire bedrooms. Forget a white Christmas, that is a holiday wish the Lego corporationÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½should beÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½seeking, at least.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Lego comes out with a newly themed toy lineÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½each year. Last year, Bionicles was the biggest seller; and continues to beÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½one of the top sellers. This year the Viking toy line is expected to be a top seller, getting plenty of publicity from Toys R Us, because itÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½is sold as an exclusive to the store.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Combining basic computer functionality into the size of a large writing utensil summarizes the Fly Pentop computer. The pen has an internal computer.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½that reads from dot-matrix paper. If you draw a calculator onto the paper; the calculator actually works, for example, calculating problems. If you draw a drum set; the drums actually work. There’sÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½even an add-onÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½accessory that even translates words from English to Spanish. If you write down a word in English, it tells you the Spanish equivalent. Priced at $99.99, the Fly Laptop Pen is expected to help children of all ages complete their homework on time.
These are just a few of the many projected best-sellers for the upcoming holiday season. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your purchases. Make sure to grab these now, while supplies last.